Mayor hopefuls: A large field, but who has what it takes to fix a broken City?
February 1, 2019

We will put it bluntly and this may make some of you uncomfortable—but it needs to be said as we trudge our way to Election Day on Feb. 26. There is a stench in Chicago that reeks to the highest heaven.

It permeates throughout City Hall and the Office of the Mayor. The last eight years under Rahm Emanuel have left our City with rubble strewn about—as if fly dumpers dropped loads of concrete and asbestos on us day after day, month after month. We have choked on this dust and debris far too long.

Where, you ask? Well certainly not downtown or in River North, or in other neighborhoods of affluence. Yet, Emanuel’s allocation of TIF dollars (read “slush fund” thanks to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, who started this mess), and the loyal approval of the City Council made sure those “blighted” communities benefitted from millions of dollars in handouts to influential developers. In the meantime, parts of our City continue to cry out for new housing, manufacturing, and technology centers to create jobs, new and equitably resourced schools, and more parks and playgrounds.

No, the “rubble” we refer to was dumped in low- and middle-class neighborhoods which, as a result, suffered through the closing of 50 Chicago Public Schools; a steady onslaught of violent crime; and a loss of hope. More rubble? How about the closing of the mental health clinics in Chicago, and the skyrocketing property taxes that we are drowning under as the City and County take more and more from us and force many to sell or lose their homes. What about the quadrupling of the Department of Water fees under Emanuel’s watch? The dollars will go towards infrastructure needs sure, but there was silence from City Hall when it first came to light that Chicago may have a serious problem with lead in its water. And then there were the first-ever garbage collection fees. We could go on and on, but you get the picture, don’t you?

The stench wafts throughout the chambers of the City Council, where the vast majority of our 50 Aldermen far too often fall in lock-step with the Mayor so that they don’t lose favor and the precious handouts for their wards. Meanwhile, take a look at your neighborhood streets and tell us how many of them have been paved from one end of the block to the other in recent years. Aren’t you tired of these patchwork efforts as if asphalt costs $50,000 per cubic yard? Investigations, scandals, and falls from grace are a part of the history of this City Council—and that’s just in the last decade. The news that 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis wore a wire only adds to our incredible dismay.

It reeks throughout the Chicago Police Department, where the “code of silence” among some officers and their superiors not only exists, but strangles our City. Those who adhere to this code shouldn’t have the privilege to wear the City’s star and uniform, not when they cover the backs of colleagues who violate our public trust. Don’t get us wrong, we are not saying that the majority of the CPD are bad people—just the opposite. They have our utmost respect and appreciation for going out each and every day and risking their lives. The Good Lord knows what our community went through in 2018 with the tragic loss of several of our finest who gave their very lives protecting us.

But facts are facts, and there are some very bad apples within the CPD. The stink hovers over the Fraternal Order of Police as well, who have turned a blind eye to the problems we have had for decades with some within the rank and file. We yearn for a Mayor who will have the courage to stare down the FOP the next time its contract is up and rip out the pages that protect the bad officers who fail to serve and protect us.

This foul odor permeates throughout our court system as well. We need a better process of appointing judges to the bench than having the public vote them in. How many of us really do our homework at election time and vote for those judges who are deserving? Instead, how many of us vote by race or gender or a handbill some precinct captain gave us? The recent sentencing of Officer Jason Van Dyke in the Laquan McDonald murder trial was appalling. Six years for shooting a teenager wielding a knife 16 times with nine of those shots entering McDonald in the back. Judge Vincent Gaughan should be ashamed for arguing the technicalities of the case and determining a minimum sentence. Van Dyke can get out of jail with good behavior and time served in less than three years. Laquan McDonald? He will never see another day of sunshine on this earth. And, to add more pollution for us to gag on, the three officers who were on trial charged with conspiracy in filing their reports in the McDonald shooting? They were all acquitted just a day before the Van Dyke sentencing. These decisions created a pall throughout Chicago’s minority communities, where many feel the lives of their young men have no value in this City. Justice for all doesn’t exist in Chicago.

We cannot blame Mayor Emanuel for these court decisions, but we will always doubt as to when he received the Laquan McDonald shooting video and whether he held it in secret until after his reelection in 2015.

Gazette Chicago never was a fan of Rahm Emanuel. We are happy to see him go. The stench that hovers over us? Emanuel didn’t create it, but he did nothing to push it out of our fair City. Just as Bubbly Creek carries the aftermath of polluters of the Chicago River’s South Branch before and after the heyday of the Chicago Stockyards, so too has our City been the victim of corruption, influence peddling, payoffs, and graft since its inception. Frankly, we are sick of it and hope that you are, too.

This election is your opportunity to drive that stench out once and for all.

With 14 candidates running for Mayor, Gazette Chicago cannot delve deeply into the qualifications each candidate. We hope that you will do your homework and look closely at their platforms and not be swayed by television and radio commercials—that is a lazy person’s way of making such a critical decision. Instead, we will take a look at those whom we think have a real chance at finishing first or second on Feb. 26. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two go to a runoff in April.

The following candidates are those whom we feel are the primary contenders:

Gery Chico had a strong showing eight years ago when he faced off against Emanuel. Gazette Chicago endorsed Chico in that race. He has served the City well in a number of high level positions, including Chief of Staff, President of the Board of the Chicago Public Schools, and President of the Board of the City Colleges, as well as Chair of the State Board of Education. Chico gets strong marks for his knowledge of City government and his ability to get things done. We wish he would have taken some stronger positions in this campaign. For example, he is trying to appease voters by saying he would construct a new School Board made up of elected and appointed members. Yet, he wants to retain the rights to appoint the majority and waffled when asked whether someone handpicked by the Mayor or someone elected would serve as chairperson of the new board. In this election, we are seeking a stronger reformer. Chico’s knowledge and expertise would serve the City well if he were to win outright or get into a runoff and he would be a decent Mayor.

Bill Daley has spent most of his career in the financial services industry and he also has been U.S. Secretary of Commerce and White House Chief of Staff under President Barack Obama. He would eliminate Local School Councils in favor of neighborhood councils to oversee schools. As part of police reform, he would increase professional training for police and information sharing on what works in community policing, and work for tougher gun laws and violence prevention programs. To improve the economy, he supports a casino as part of a larger package including marijuana legalization and a real estate transfer tax on expensive properties. He opposes a La Salle Street tax favored by progressives and will not rule out a commuter tax and municipal sales tax increase. He favors a State Constitutional amendment to allow pension benefits to be reduced. To improve health, he would clean up lead in the water supply, work with the manufacturing sector to cut pollution, and improve green spaces.

Daley, as an executive for SBC Communications and JP Morgan Midwest, was essentially a lobbyist to help these multi-million dollar companies change regulations to make more money and shoulder less of a tax burden, making him no friend of the average working Chicagoan. Most of the millions of dollars he has raised in this campaign have come from big corporations. His desire to cut the pensions of public employees through constitutional amendment is appalling, as is his idea to eliminate Local School Councils, only to give control of the schools to neighborhood bosses. This Daley 2.0 is not in the corner of Chicago’s struggling middle- and lower-income families. His term would be more of the same of what Emanuel dished out—a corporate-elitist Democratic approach to governing. We’ll pass on this.

Amara Enyia offers a fresh, honest look at Chicago and its politics and an inclusivity that is both welcoming and hopeful. She has the financial backing of a Chicagoan who has stepped out and is using his popularity to advocate for the voiceless and who are the victims of negligence from our political leaders—Chance the Rapper. She would reform the TIF program and consider a real estate transfer tax to pay for helping the homeless, fighting substance abuse, and providing mental health services. At this time, we are looking for someone with more experience to tackle the myriad issues facing our city. But, we hope the next Mayor will seek out Enyia and find a responsible position for her, and not be threatened by her many attributes. We see so much potential in her—it would be a shame not to have Enyia play a key role in reshaping our City’s future.

Susana Mendoza is our State Comptroller, who was recently elected to her first four-year term. Mendoza, like so many others, joined this race once Emanuel bowed out. We liked her feistiness during her first two years in the Comptroller seat, standing up to former Governor Bruce Rauner and paying down a good chunk of the State’s unpaid bills. In education, she supports a hybrid school board with some elected and appointed members. For police reform, she would retrain officers in recognizing mental illness and in de-escalating situations, and work to end the “code of silence” that keeps police officers from reporting on the infractions of other police. We applaud her for this position and for wanting to work with the State on new legislation to keep more guns from coming into Chicago. For economic development, she favors a Chicago casino, legalized marijuana, and a progressive State income tax. She opposes a LaSalle Street tax, commuter tax, and property tax increase, and increased property taxes. She said she will not cut promised pensions. In terms of health, she would work to create green jobs and fight polluters and climate change. She has come under criticism for favoring, when she was City Clerk, increased penalties for not having City stickers, which proportionally affect the poorest communities. Mendoza has many fine attributes but we feel there is a better number one candidate in this critical race.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle formerly was 4th Ward Alderman. She too, jumped into this race after Emanuel decided his time was up. Preckwinkle would improve education through an elected school board. She would fight crime by creating a Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and enact police reform through civilian oversight. For economic development, she favors a casino, legalizing marijuana, a real estate transfer tax, and a graduated income tax. She promises to get rid of TIFs. She opposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow pension reductions, and would seek unspecified “creative” ways to fund pensions. She would spread City resources around to every neighborhood to improve health and social justice.

So why doesn’t she receive Gazette Chicago’s endorsement, especially when we have done so many times in the past? Because Preckwinkle is a former reformer who has increasingly embraced Chicago Machine positions—she will not support a ban on political contributions from those doing business with the City and from lobbyists, she has a long record of accepting contributions from developers, and supported the unpopular Machine-backed Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in his race against the eventual winner, reformer Fritz Kaegi. Her soda tax was hugely unpopular, and ended in repeal. And, she has come into the spotlight during the Federal probe of Alderman Edward Burke, who helped direct political contributions to her campaign. It’s too bad she didn’t enter the fray four years ago when many Chicagoans had enough of Rahm at that time—and she was still a favorite in our eyes.

Paul Vallas was the most effective CEO of the Chicago Public Schools in recent memory. Under his watch there was no Federal investigations and widespread scandal. The test scores of the students in CPS rose under his watch, and there were no mass school closings. He balanced the CPS budget and introduced new summer school and after school programs. He then took his experience to Philadelphia and New Orleans and was effective in those cities. Vallas is a man of integrity and has the financial acumen to help us get out from under the City’s pension crisis. With such a crowded field, he has been having a difficult time gaining traction with Chicago voters. If he were to find his way into a two-person race come April, we will certainly take a much closer look at his candidacy for Mayor.

These candidates are also on the ballot, but we don’t think they have much of a chance:

Robert “Bob” Fioretti is a former Alderman of the 2nd Ward, when the ward was in this community. Since then, he has run unsuccessfully for Mayor and President of the Cook County Board. Fioretti believes he could make headway in this race if he could raise at least $500,000 to gain some air time. The fact that he can’t says a lot of how strong he is viewed as a candidate by the voters.

LaShawn Ford is a State Representative from the West Side. He has done good work as a member of the State’s Medicaid Managed Care Oversight Task Force, which he is working on new healthcare delivery system for people with disabilities and the elderly, and the Violence Prevention Task Force, which works to increase awareness of resources, jobs, and opportunities to prevent violence. A good candidate, but he isn’t gaining much traction either.

Jerry Joyce is a business owner and attorney who has never run for office. His father was an alderman and state senator and a strong ally of the first Mayor Daley—Richard J. When there is more to be said about the level of governmental experience his father had then he does, well, it is apparent Joyce does not have strong enough credentials for this job.

John Kozlar is a former unsuccessful candidate for 11th Ward alderman. Four years ago, we expressed the hope that he would stay active in politics, but we haven’t seen anything that warrants a critical look at him in this race.

Garry McCarthy is a former Superintendent of Chicago Police. He was fired by Mayor Emanuel for his handling of the shooting of Laquan McDonald. McCarthy has made himself to be a candidate of great independence and someone who would rid our streets of crime, but there are many Chicagoans who lost their trust in him shortly after the McDonald tragedy. His three major issues are improving education (he would reverse many of Emanuel’s cuts to the CPS), taxes and the economy of the city (he would adhere to the budget and quit selling off City assets), and crime and making the city safe (he would overhaul the police disciplinary system and put more police on the streets). McCarthy has been losing traction since more experienced candidates entered the race.

Neal Sales-Griffin is an entrepreneur and educator, CEO of CodeNow, a nonprofit that teaches coding to low-income high school students. He has some great attributes but has never held public office. We always encourage young people to have aspirational goals, but this election is not the place for a novice like Sales-Griffin to learn on the job.

Willie L. Wilson is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist who is chairman of the board of Omar Inc. and Chicago Baptist Institute. One of his greatest passions in the campaign is addressing spiraling property taxes that are forcing many minority Chicagoans to lose their homes. As a person of financial means, Wilson has, for many years, handed out significant dollars to citizens to help them keep their properties. This is commendable to a certain degree, but we are disappointed that Wilson has not seen the optics of doing so once he entered the race for Mayor. We don’t believe this is sound judgment on his part and we question his ability to make difficult decisions if elected Mayor.

Lori Lightfoot.

Lightfoot for Mayor: A reform candidate who can and will reform this City

Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Lori Lightfoot as the next Mayor of Chicago. We believe she has the best credentials, the best overall level of experience, and the independence and integrity to rid our City of the stench that has plagued it far too long. We at Gazette Chicago are life-long residents and have covered this city with passion and admiration for 36 years and we know one thing—Chicago is at a crossroads. Do we want to become a city that only the rich and powerful can live and thrive in, or do we want to create opportunity for people from all walks of life to have a chance to better themselves and their families? If you want the latter, then vote for Lightfoot.

Do we want to fix the problems in our public schools—which are not the fault of our teachers and principals, but result from the way the current Mayor and his appointed Board have distributed resources and treated CPS staff with disdain? Do we want to offer alternative pathways to our youth that include education, job training, a true sense of self-worth and a trust in government and turn them away from gangs and street violence?  If so, then vote for Lightfoot.

She is an accomplished attorney who most recently served as a senior partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolutions Group at the firm of Mayer Brown LLP. Wouldn’t that skill set come in handy when dealing with the City Council, the Chicago Teachers Union, and other City agencies, as well as in communicating with all Chicagoans? Imagine a Mayor who didn’t talk down to you. That would be a breath of fresh air after eight years of Emanuel’s reign.

Lightfoot has experience in municipal government as well. She served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (the 911 Center), was interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, and revised the City’s minority and woman-owned business certification program. If you want a fair shake in doing business in Chicago instead of a shake down, then vote for Lightfoot.

Lightfoot is a former Assistant United States Attorney who worked in the criminal division and handled investigations that included political corruption. She served as Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards under former Police Superintendent Terry Hilliard and investigated police shootings and the use of excessive force. As President of the Chicago Police Board, Lightfoot led a civilian body that was charged with determining disciplinary matters involving allegations of police misconduct. She led the national search for the Superintendent of Police—which Mayor Emanuel skirted when he appointed Eddie Johnson.

As chair of the Police Accountability Task Force, Lightfoot issued a detailed report of the practices of the CPD. Many of the PATF’s findings and recommendations were similarly reported in the Department of Justice report in January 2017—under the watch of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. This report and consent decree gives us our best chance for reform and accountability within the CPD. If you want to see true and fair reform within the Chicago Police Department and honest discussions on race relations, how to create partnerships between police and community, and a rebuilding of trust between everyday citizens and the CPD, then you must vote for Lightfoot. She will also work to improve police training and reduce the homicide clearance rate which stands at an abysmal 15.4 percent.

Lightfoot is in favor of an elected school board; expanding high school apprenticeship programs; and having a Level 1 elementary and high school in every neighborhood. She plans to address gun violence as the public health crisis that it is; create violence prevention programs, open community-based mental health centers; and work to legislatively get illegal guns off our streets. She has a plan to expand affordable housing options and reduce the red tape that keeps many from having a roof over their heads.

Lightfoot would set mayoral term limits as part of her plan to clean up City government. She plans to hold town hall meetings on the City budget and will stop elected officials from profiting from their government positions. You mean Aldermen could no longer work to reduce the property taxes of rich developers like Donald Trump? She also promises to bring transparency to the TIF process and make sure the dollars go to the neighborhoods that need them the most. We say hooray to both.

Lightfoot supports the LGBTQ+ community and will appoint mayoral liaisons to work with Chicagoans who like her, are a part of this community. We appreciate her desire for inclusivity and the importance of safeguarding the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people everywhere and the fact she has been open about her status. She is a proud mother and wants the best for all of our children and grandchildren. Lightfoot will stand to protect those with immigrant status in our City.

There are a number of solid candidates in this very large field of 14. We could see Gery Chico, Susana Mendoza, Toni Preckwinkle, and Paul Vallas all become good Mayors. However, we do not think anyone of those mentioned or the others in the field would be better at the job and the challenges on the fifth floor of City Hall than Lori Lightfoot.

Because she is the candidate with the most transparency, the independence to clean up the pollution in our city government, the ability to sit down with others of differing opinions, and a vision for a fair and equitable future for all Chicagoans, we endorse Lori Lightfoot for mayor.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin.

City Treasurer

This is an open seat, as incumbent City Treasurer Kurt Summers decided not to run again. Three candidates are on the ballot.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin is 10th District State Representative and the wife of local 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin. Conyears-Ervin noted that her experience in the legislature has taught her the unfairness of expecting people to wait for money owed them, promising to pay bills promptly. She would place the City’s money in banks that invest in communities of need. She would work to increase investment revenues to help pay for City pensions. As treasurer, she said she would speak out when the mayor and City council are not acting in the best interest of the taxpayers’ dollars. She would consider a City-owned public bank to compete with private banks.

Peter Gariepy is a Certified Public Accountant who has been treasurer of the West Town Special Service Area and East Village Association. He promises to make investments that have a positive environmental and social impact. Gariepy would enact a New York City-style policy of investing in neighborhoods with the most need and in projects that utilize union labor and create affordable housing. He would structure the City’s investment portfolio to try to pay down the City’s pension deficit. He notes that the City treasurer is independently elected and should not be a rubber stamp for the mayor or City council. Gariepy favors a State public bank operated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

Ameya Pawar is Alderman of the 47th Ward. He would diversify the City’s investment portfolio and make sure investments are environmentally sound. Pawar said he wants to run the office under a “bold, progressive agenda” and invest in neighborhoods. He promises to be a “fiscal watchdog” and end City deals based on clout. He would keep the office independent from the mayor and City council through establishing an Office of Economic Empowerment to help people with housing, debt, and education in an effort to solve economic inequality. He strongly supports a municipal-owned bank that would not have predatory service fees and changes in interest rates that harm consumers. Pawar has a unique plan to “publicize” the City’s water system by selling shares in it.

We are concerned about any plan that takes a City asset such as water away from the City, as Pawar’s would as it poses too many risks. Yet, there are three solid candidates in this race. We like the work Melissa Conyears-Ervin has done in this community as a local State Rep, and we like her plan for a public bank, so she receives our endorsement.

Aldermanic endorsements

In this issue of Gazette Chicago, we have provided you with information on the majority of the candidates who are running for Alderman in our coverage area. There were a few candidates who did not respond to our request for interviews and those are noted in the articles. We ask that you read these articles carefully; visit the candidates’ websites or other forms of social media; attend an upcoming candidates forums if some are offered; and by all means do your due diligence and cast your vote on Feb. 26.

Pat Dowell.

3rd Ward

Incumbent Pat Dowell faces a challenge from Alexandra Willis, a nurse who also has had experience with Renaissance Collaborative, which offers support in the areas of workforce and housing development and homeless prevention. Willis would like to see more affordable housing in the 3rd Ward, especially for those who often fall through the cracks based on income, and those who are leaving the community due to gentrification. She would like to secure City funding for infrastructure improvements.

Pat Dowell has been effective in her position of leadership in the 3rd Ward. She makes herself accessible to her constituents and to the media and doesn’t shy away from answering the difficult questions. She has overseen efforts to improve ward school quality, safety, and infrastructure and worked to improve the ward’s business climate. She even has been the rare Alderman to provide TIF money for schools, instead of for developers. She would seek a new site for a CPS high school now that plans for conversion of National Teachers Academy have fallen through.

Willis also would look to bring a new high school to the area. Both agree that a new Red Line station should be built elsewhere in the ward than at the location of “the 78” development at Clark and 15th Streets

Gazette Chicago believes that Pat Dowell deserves another term to lead the 3rd Ward through its next chapter of growth and development.

Sophia King.

4th Ward

This 4th Ward race between incumbent Alderman Sophia King and challenger Ebony Lucas is a repeat of their 2015 bout. Lucas is an attorney who wants to strengthen CPS schools at the K-8th grade level. She has been working in the community to promote safer streets through local programs and by working with CAPS. She wants to tackle escalating property taxes and water bills. Lucas is not opposed to a financial transaction tax or a progressive income tax and is for TIF reform.

King was originally appointed to her seat by Mayor Emanuel. It’s a practice we disdain as we would like to see elections when a City Council seat opens up. But, King has been an effective leader for her community. She has helped to expand programs at Kenwood Academy and Jones College Prep. King has brought infrastructure improvements to the ward including the revitalization of Drexel Boulevard and bike lines on that artery, and pedestrian bridges at four access points to Lake Michigan. To stem crime and increase public safety, King has worked to shut down businesses and buildings that created problems in the community and created the Safe Summer Initiative.

This race offers two solid choices, but with her first term under her belt, we see no reason for change in the 4th Ward and endorse Sophia King for another term.

Patrick D. Thompson.

11th Ward

Incumbent Patrick D. Thompson is wrapping up his first term as Alderman of the 11th Ward. He is facing a challenge from former teacher and labor organizer David Mihalyfy.

Mihalyfy would focus on the redevelopment of Halsted Street by converting storefronts that are empty to new and different uses. He would like to convert those spaces to combinations of businesses and studio apartments. He also supports the creation of duplexes and “granny-flats” to add density to the ward. This might be a sound strategy to increase net population, but those new residents, like the others living in Bridgeport along Halsted Street and elsewhere, still need new businesses to meet their needs. Mihalyfy would like to offer solar energy panels to homeowners as part of a City-funded loan program. He would like to curb TIFs but would be open to those resources if it would help his solar-panel initiative. He is against a Starbucks coming to the intersection of 31st and Halsted Streets.

Thompson sees the arrival of Starbucks as a launching point for Halsted Street development. For the past four years, he has been trying to get landowners on the strip to be more reasonable with their rents to lure much needed new business to the area. He hasn’t had much success unfortunately as everyone seems to be looking for high profit margins.

Thompson was successful in working with the CTA to bring back the 31st Street bus and is creatively looking to work with IIT and Mercy Hospital and Medical Center to get more of their employees to use the route. His infrastructure plans include increased lighting and increasing the size of water and sewer lines. He has been advocating permeable pavers in the alleys as a better drainage system.

Both Mihalyfy and Thompson embrace working with CMAP to create a long term plan for the ward. We will disagree with Thompson on his stance on TIFs and that the Taylor Street community doesn’t necessarily need to be under the direction of one Alderman instead of three. We will continue to push him on both of these critical issues.

We don’t see enough from David Mihalyfy at this time to warrant a change in leadership.

For consistency in moving the 11th Ward over the next four years, we believe that Patrick D. Thompson deserves a second term.

George Cardenas.

12th Ward

Incumbent George Cardenas is the longest tenured Alderman in Gazette Chicago’s coverage area, serving since 2003. He is facing challenges from Pete DeMay and Jose Rico.

DeMay is a labor organizer and a founding member of Neighbors for Environmental Justice and the 12th Ward Independent Political Organization. He believes that CMAP needs more minority representation. He disagrees with Cardenas on the level of violence in the ward, calling it “unacceptable” while the Alderman feels there is less crime and gang activity than in the past.

DeMay would like to see the City open Spanish-speaking mental health facilities. He would try and replace the loss of manufacturing jobs with sustainable green food-based business. His infrastructure plan would combine the need to replace lead pipes with a job training program. DeMay would lift the ban on rent control and ban the TIFs program.

Rico is a senior vice president at the United Way of Metro Chicago. One of the reasons he is running for Alderman is to curb the gang violence in the ward as it hit very close to home when his son was present in a gang-related shooting. Rico said he would work with CMAP and wants to see more creative uses of the Chicago River. Rico would look for better transportation options in the ward as well as high speed internet and mobile phone connection improvements. He sees a use for TIFs but a better plan is needed. He favors an apprenticeship program that addresses the lead pipe issue.

Cardenas has been working with CMAP reps for the past year and sees opportunity in bringing higher paying jobs to the community, which includes manufacturing districts. His infrastructure plan includes street repaving and increased lighting as well as improved water mains and adding three new schools and a library. He also wants to address truck traffic in the ward and make sure the viaducts and underpasses don’t pose barriers. He has added more recreational space in the community and is looking to the opening of the ward’s first dog park. He has been converting empty lots into green gardens. Cardenas sees the need for TIFs but believes the City must rethink how to use those resources more equitably. He wants to study the rent control issue more thoroughly as he sees plusses and minuses of such a policy.

Both Pete DeMay and Jose Rico bring some fresh ideas to this race. Both would serve the 11th Ward well. If Cardenas didn’t have a proven track record of delivering for his constituents, we could comfortably endorse either DeMay or Rico. But he has, so George Cardenas deserves another term as Alderman.

Byron Sigcho-Lopez.

25th Ward

The 25th Ward race offers a rare open Aldermanic seat, and an even rarer slate of all good candidates.

We like the stands of Alex Acevedo, Hilario Dominguez, Troy Hernandez, and Byron Sigcho-Lopez on the various issues such as gentrification, the old coal plants, and public safety. We like Aida Flores’ background, and only wish she would have talked to our reporter.

We feel that Sigcho-Lopez has been most active in the community as executive director of Pilsen Alliance. Sigcho-Lopez has not been afraid to work on a variety of progressive issues in the community. We really like his stands on property tax exemptions for long-term residents, more affordable housing, TIF reform, and a “Green New Deal.” He is opposed to the Taylor Street/Little Italy area being carved up among several Aldermen. He has always been accessible to Gazette Chicago in explaining the challenges taking place in Pilsen and surrounding communities and always has given intelligent commentary and insight on a variety of issues.

Sigcho-Lopez has been a great community activist, and he’ll be a great alderman. He receives our endorsement.

Walter Burnett.

27th Ward

The 27th Ward features a one-on-one between real estate broker Cynthia Bednarz and longtime incumbent Walter Burnett.

We like her stands on the issues, but frankly, we have not seen her active in the community. We hope that if she does not win, that she will be more active in the area and become a community leader.

While we are disappointed by Burnett’s lack of commitment to TIF reform, he is good on most other issues—understanding changing demographics by allowing more non-industrial development, better traffic safety, a new high school, and better infrastructure. Burnett has strived to represent all of his ward constituents—from the West Loop to Fulton Market, and from West Haven through the West Side.

Burnett has been an effective, accessible Alderman, so no need to make a change here. Gazette Chicago supports Walter Burnett for another term as 27th Ward Alderman.

Jason C. Ervin.

28th Ward

Four candidates are seeking the 28th Ward seat. Miguel Bautista, Jason C. Ervin, Jasmine Jackson, and Beverly Miles. Here is another race where all the candidates have good, intelligent stands on the issues.

Although he ducked our reporter’s question about Taylor Street/Little Italy being carved up among several Aldermen, and wants TIF reform rather than elimination, the incumbent, Ervin, has a track record that shows he is effective and progressive.

He has been working with Related Midwest to get them to continue building in Roosevelt Square. He voted for the Affordable Requirements  Ordinance to curb gentrification. He has been paving the streets, improving lighting, and cleaning up public spaces in the ward.

Like Walter Burnett in the neighboring 27th Ward, Ervin also has been effective and accessible, so we endorse Jason C. Ervin for another term as 28th Ward Aldermen. As in other aldermanic races, we also would like to see the challengers be more active in the community before running for office next time around.